Science Announcements

4MOST Community Surveys Selected

Published: 08 Feb 2022

The 4MOST instrument will conduct surveys in a five-year programme. The selection of the surveys for the full five year period followed the procedures set out in the VLT/I Science Operations Policies and involved calls for Letters of Intent and invitations to submit a proposal following recommendations by the Public Survey Panel (PSP). The PSP recommended 15 community surveys to be selected for 4MOST observations. The selection was endorsed by the Observing Programmes Committee at its 108th meeting in November 2021. The selected surveys will become part of the 4MOST project in preparation for the observing planned to start in late 2023.

Conference: Sharpest Eyes on the Sky

Published: 03 Feb 2022

The University of Exeter (UK) is hosting The Sharpest Eyes on the Sky, a conference co-sponsored by ESO focussing on the latest science results from optical interferometers and other very high angular resolution techniques. The meeting will be held in the tradition of the past CHARA meetings and VLTI community days, bringing both communities together for the first time. There will be time for discussions regarding the recent and future technological development of CHARA and VLTI, including how to best exploit these advancements in synergy with other facilities and instruments. Participants can attend either in-person at Exeter or online. The meeting has been dedicated to the memory of Dr. Matthew Willson, a promising young scientist in high-angular resolution astronomy who passed away in January under tragic circumstances. Abstract submission will close on 7 March 2022.

First Data Release of the Burst Alert Telescope AGN Legacy Survey of Molecular Gas Fueling in Powerful Nearby AGN

Published: 03 Feb 2022

The APEX telescope has obtained CO(2-1) spectra for a sample of 165 hard-X-Ray-selected AGN galaxies detected in observations by the Burst Alert Telescope (BAT) onboard Swift. These observations, taken under the ESO programme id 198.A-0708, PI M. Koss, allow a statistical comparison of AGN and non-AGN dominated galaxies in the local Universe, for example from the ALLSMOG APEX survey. As this programme mainly aimed at observing a statistical sample of nearby AGN, many of the galaxies observed are well-known galaxies, and these Phase 3 data can provide a valuable total power measurement of the CO(2-1) emission which then can be combined with interferometric observations obtained with ALMA. Additionally, the BASS (BAT AGN Spectroscopic Survey) sample includes a variety of other ESO data products including hundreds of spectra with VLT/Xshooter, VLT/MUSE, and VLT/FORS2 with more information at the BASS survey website.

First Data Release from the ESO VISTA Public Survey - Southern H-ATLAS Regions in Ks-band (SHARKS)

Published: 01 Feb 2022

The Southern H-ATLAS Regions in Ks-band (SHARKS) is a deep Ks-band imaging survey conducted with the wide-field VIRCAM imager at the VISTA telescope. The project was granted 1200 hours of observing time under the ESO programme 198.A-2006 (PI H. Dannerbauer) as one of seven approved second cycle VISTA Public Surveys. It covers ~300 deg2, including large parts of the South Galactic Plane (SGP), GAMA-12h (G12) and GAMA-15h (G15) fields from the H-ATLAS survey, the largest Herschel program. The survey has been designed to provide the best possible counterpart identification for ∼90% of the sources detected at 0 < z < 3 by H-ATLAS, ASKAP, SKA and LOFAR; to produce a sample of strong lenses for cosmography studies; to study the evolution of the most massive structures in the Universe.

ESO Operations Helpdesk and User Portal

Published: 01 Feb 2022

Login to the ESO Operations Helpdesk via the ESO User Portal has been enabled for all users since Jan 27th, 2022. The login button is located in the top-right corner of the user interface and will take you to the ESO User Portal login screen. After logging in, you can submit a ticket using the "Submit Helpdesk Ticket" button, this ticket will be pre-filled with your contact information. Use the "My tickets" entry in the user menu available from the top-right corner of the interface to access your tickets. On that page, you can see the status of your requests and you can also interact with us directly from the site. Email interactions remain of course possible, this new feature does not supersede the communication channel that you are already used to. ESO welcomes feedback from the users’ community about this tool and will continue improving it.

Pitch your Research to ESO Communications to Reach a Broad Audience

Published: 01 Feb 2022

Are you an author on an upcoming scientific study based on ESO data that could be relevant to journalists or the wider public? Or are you a Principal Investigator on ESO observations with potential to become stunning images like that above? If so, please consider sending your paper and/or a preview of the image(s) obtained with ESO telescopes to ESO's Media Manager Barbara Ferreira at

ESO@60: A Stairway to the Universe

Published: 21 Jan 2022

During the EAS2022 annual meeting in Valencia, Spain (27.06 – 01.07) the S14 symposium titled "ESO@60: a stairway to the Universe" will be held to celebrate the scientific achievements with the ESO facilities over the last 60 years. The scientific program will consist of six blocks of 1.5 hrs each, with each block covering a broad theme, starting from Extrasolar planets, Astrochemistry and Nucleo-synthesis, Stellar populations, Black holes, Cosmology & Galaxy evolution and then onto the ELT and the future. The registration and abstract submission are now opened, with abstract submission deadline on 01.03.2022. More information on sessions, keynote speakers, scientific organising committee and co-Chairs can be found on the S14 web page.

Message from the Director General

Published: 22 Dec 2021

Dear colleagues

Another unusual year has passed, although with a very positive balance for ESO and its community. Despite all difficulties associated with the pandemic, a lot was achieved. The observatories remained open for most or all of the year, with a focus on maximising the delivery of scientific data. Work on the ELT continued at a very good pace, new instruments are at various stages of development, CTA is taking shape, and a variety of scientific activities keep the link between ESO and its community as strong as ever. The special effort that we are all making through these difficult times is warmly appreciated by ESO’s governing bodies, whose unfailing support is a clear tribute to the impact that the ESO community has on worldwide astronomical research.

Phase 2 Observations Preparation for Observing Period 109

Published: 22 Dec 2021

With the release of the La Silla Paranal telescope schedule, the preparation of Service Mode (SM) observations (Phase 2) starts. The deadline for the submission of the Phase 2 material for Period 109 observations is 3 February 2022.

Period 109 Telescope Allocation

Published: 22 Dec 2021

The 109th Observing Programmes Committee (OPC) met online during November 2021. Based on the committee's recommendations to the ESO Director General, a total of 2093 (10-hour equivalent) nights of Designated Visitor Mode and Service Mode observations were allocated on the VLT/VLTIVISTA, the 3.6-metre and NTT, and APEX telescopes. The submission deadline for Phase 2 Service Mode observations is Thursday 3 February 2022; see the separate announcement for further details.

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